Gary Lineker (pic: Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Gary Lineker is right to compare  Tory policy to the 1930s. The people forced to use small boats to escape to refuge are in the same position as Jews in 1933.

As Hitler’s violence against them grew, legal routes to escape were shut down by governments all over the world. The “voyage of the damned” on the ship the Saint Louis, has many parallels with small boats now. In 1939 it sailed from Hamburg with 937 Jewish refugees. Cuba, the US and Canada turned them away.

Forced back to European countries, many became victims of the Holocaust. Overland routes were little better. What happened after Austria was annexed by the Nazis in 1938 shows this. Until then you could travel from there to most European countries visa free.

The Dutch were the first to impose visa requirements which meant Jews would have to stand outside the embassy in Vienna risking physical attacks every minute. The Dutch government’s view? “We are overrun by foreigners”.

The British government brought in visa requirements “in order to assist refugees”. It helped by turning down nine out of ten of the 600,000 visa applications, condemning the rest to the Holocaust.

France didn’t even issue visas. Its border police were ordered to “oppose entry by all means possible.” Accounts report that “women were throwing themselves under trucks to avoid being sent back, and police officers deserted their posts, sickened by the heartrending scenes.”

 The Swiss government said “the lifeboat is full” and demanded the Germans stamp a “J” on Jewish passports so they could be identified. Non-Jewish Germans laden with the loot from “Aryanisation” were welcome in the lifeboat as the Swiss banks would profit.

The stench of hypocrisy from those criticising Lineker and talking of BBC bias is unbelievable.

Donny Gluckstein


Racism in cricket

You don’t have to be a cricket fan to smell the stench from an establishment trying to cover up Azeem Rafiq’s exposure of racism.

Azeem’s life has been ruined twice, first by the vile racism he suffered playing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and then after he went public.  Most of those he accused of racism have gone on to continue their careers.

He’s been left to face racists defecating in his garden, sending disgusting messages or threatening to destroy his family’s business. At the English Cricket Board hearings some of the accused were allowed to not attend. But it’s clear the sport’s rulers cannot ignore the institutional racism revealed. We’ll have to see what action is taken.

Cricket, as the great Marxist writer CLR James demonstrated, is about imperialism, empire and racism. A rotten system that wants to keep black and Asian people in their place.

Yorkshire initially defended blatant racism, claiming it was “banter.”

This was at a club that until 1992 had a “whites only” policy that only Yorkshire-born cricketers could play. But it was not just Yorkshire—every county was implicated. And, of course, it was not just cricket or sport. It reflects the racism in society, which starts at the top.

The fight is on to resist racism everywhere. When we stand up, together we can push back the racists.

Phil Turner


Don’t apologise for taking on polluters

The air in London and other large British towns and cities is killing us. Asthma rates are up, and air pollution-related cancers are more common.

There are huge projects such as the Silvertown Tunnel and new coal mines causing even more carbon emissions. We need to end these mega projects.

But it’s not just the government and oil companies who are complicit. Many ordinary people use public transport or cycle, but wealthy people choose to pollute the air by driving completely unnecessary 4×4 vehicles.

The consequences are criminal. Their air internally is filtered, ours is filled with smog. Since last year, new group Tyre Extinguisher has slashed over 10,000 tyres in 15 cities around the world. Good on them.

We need more public transport, more pedestrianisation of roads and cycling schemes and less highly polluting cars.

We should look to Amsterdam and Copenhagen for how we run our cities’ transport and not let Land Rovers continue to pollute our communities.


South London

It’s time to fight for a proper state pension

I urge Socialist Worker readers to sign our petition asking the government to increase the state pension to £416.80 per week, and lower the retirement age to 60 for all. This is a modest amount—equivalent to the National Minimum Wage for 40 hours—in a country as rich as ours.

Protecting the value of the state pension is defending the future of all, and investing directly into the real economy. Private pensions are no substitute for a secure state pension. Old age should never be reliant on markets, or be regarded as a “burden”.

It should be heralded as something to look forward to after decades of working and paying into the system.

So readers, please step forward to sign and share our petition widely. Make it gain as close to a million signatures as possible.

Sign the petition at

Michael Thompson


Choosing your side

Tory MP Lee Anderson is a scab. He has crossed a political picket line to take the side of the bosses and the bankers.

There is no other word for it. Lee Anderson is a scab.

John Newsinger


Consider the French left

Charlie Kimber’s otherwise good analysis on the situation in France (Socialist Worker, 23 February) said little about the important role played by radical left movement France Insoumise (France in Revolt) and its leader Jean Luc Melenchon.

If president Emmanuel Macron decides to dissolve parliament rather than cave in, the France Insoumise will be at the centre of the battle against neoliberalism.

John Mullen


School uniform lies

Neha and Hanna were spot on in their article criticising school uniforms, (Socialist Worker, 8 March).

Uniforms are about conformity and regimentation, not equality.

I taught in a college where students did not have to wear uniforms, and that led to a much friendlier, informal atmosphere between staff and students.

And it certainly didn’t affect student performance.

Phil Webster


Fast fashion has a price

The shareholders of Boohoo fashion firm are raging—but not over the rumoured sweatshop conditions that workers are forced to work in. They’re angry that the firm’s executives plan to hand themselves £175 million if its share price improves.

I’ve a feeling the shareholders aren’t angry that the cash isn’t going to workers.  I’ve a feeling they want it for themselves, despite the fact they cream off far too much.

Janice Owens


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